By: Greg Rucka (story), Carmen Carnero (pencils), Terry Pallot (inks), Chris Sotomayor (colors)
The Story: The worst part of being stranded on an alien planet? The food.
The Review: Time-traveling stories are either fun or grim excursions, but they almost never have a permanent effect on anything. You think continuity is bad now, just imagine the nightmarish shipwreck it will be if writers could change things up with one lively jump into the past/future. And it wouldn’t just be the characters involved either; thanks to the Butterfly Effect, even a slight alteration of the timeline would logically call for changes across the universe.
So your first instinct with this whole original-X-Men-in-the-present situation is inevitably, they’ll be sent back with memories wiped and no one will be the wiser in any era. They have to, right? With Jean, Warren, Bobby, Hank, and Scott being the foundation for the most important X-storylines, any deviations to their history will upend the whole mutant mythos, too. At the same time, there’s been a pretty committed effort to integrate them into the present era; it’d be a waste, to say the least, if they were to go back with absolutely nothing from their experiences.
Scott can especially benefit from retaining something of his future adventures, especially those with his dad. As far as his adult self has fallen, the young Scott reveals that he’s always had a dark side lurking within him, one exposed by the dire situation he finds himself in. Exasperated by Chris’ insistence on fencing practice, Scott snaps, “It’s not like I’m going to ever sword fight anyone but you.”
Always the optimist, Chris replies, “Sure you will.”
“No, I won’t. And we both know it.” That doom and gloom attitude, combined with his natural stubbornness, bears a strong resemblance to the Scott we know now, and Chris calls him out on it.
“[Y]ou want to know how he got like that, Scott? Because I can see it in you. He lost hope. And as trite as it sounds, and as hard as it is sometimes…you lose hope, you may as well lay down and die right now.”
It’s exactly the right thing to say; afterwards, Scott determinedly decides not to be anything like the person he likes least—himself—by taking a risk on hope. His reluctance to feed on the carnivorous flying reptiles is, weirdly enough, a good metaphor for his change of attitude; it’d be safer and less messy for him to stick with what he knows, but that won’t save him or his dad. He’s learned that lesson by the end of the issue; as the crumbs of roasted flying reptile on his face indicate, he’s not so afraid of the mess anymore.
Carnero, perhaps realizing whose shoes he has to fill here, strives to recreate Russell Dauterman’s stunning sense of POV and perspective, and probably delivers a better-looking issue for it. That panel of Chris plunging his sword through the panel and nearly off the page looks as dynamic as anything Dauterman may draw. There’s no escaping the fact that Carnero’s lines lack the detail, texture, and smoothness you’ve grown accustomed to on the series, but Sotomayor’s shimmering tie-dye colors minimizes these differences for some overall pleasant visuals.
Conclusion: There’s not much action and a noticeable dip in the art, but the relationship between Scott and Chris remains as compelling as ever.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – I find it interesting that Scott will stick to fish and flora, but not the flying reptiles, because they all look equally bad for you.
– Maybe Scott and Chris lucked out, but I have found that whenever I’ve been told something tastes like chicken, it never, ever does.